The last few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking: about new routines, upcoming projects and books unfinished. Planning, but not so much creating. It seems right, then, to click over to Wordsmith.org and spend some time with the Wednesday’s word of the day* — and my muse.
(I hope she’s listening.)
kleptocracy. Noun. A government by the corrupt in which rulers use their official positions for personal gain.
A word and definition applicable to many, I’d say.
Head of Household
Under the muted glow of the nightlight, Nora pulled at her lip. In the mirror, she could see a growing line of blood trickle down the inside of her mouth.
“Damn,” she whispered.
“Guess I got a little crazy, huh?” Glen came up from behind her and put heavy hands on her shoulders.
“Crazy!” Nora said. “You bit me.” She wriggled out from under his grip.
“Yeah, just making sure you knew who was in charge.” He slapped her ass. Nora flipped him off and marched back to the bedroom. She heard Glen laugh, but he didn’t apologize.
Glen wasn’t always so rough and crass. It wasn’t until the day after they’d gotten married, when Nora woke to the sour smell of morning breath and Glen’s face staring down at hers, that he started declaring he was now “master of her domain.”
“Good morning?” she’d said, as she’d laughed and pushed him aside. She had thought he was kidding around.
The next week, though, he began claiming her time, telling her exactly how many nights a year she could go out with her girlfriends. No more Happy Hour meet-ups or impromptu coffee dates. And “Ladies night out” was a conspiracy, he said.
During dinners, he got greedy, taking much more than his share and leaving her with scraps some nights. She called him out on it, but he told her she’d just have to start cooking more.
“The King has a right to seconds,” he said on the night she served tenderloin. “And thirds.” He stabbed at the last piece on the platter.
And after the lights went out, he was like an animal in hiding most nights. He waited until she was almost asleep and too tired to fight back and he took her. Tonight, he’d been vicious.
“How’s the lip?” Glen asked as he crawled into bed.
“I can still taste blood…just so you know,” she said.
He patted her head and turned over without saying goodnight. Nora sat up on her elbow and studied the shape of his silhouette. When she heard his breathing slow to a shallow rhythm, she reached out and put her hand on his waist.
He was growing fat.
* Wednesday’s Word means write something – an essay, poem, or flash fiction – based on Wordsmith.org’s word of the day and post it by midnight. Past pieces from this fun writing exercise can be found under Wednesday’s Word on the sidebar to the right.